When considering dental implants or bridge work, it is likely your dentist will discuss bone grafting. Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries.
Many patients who would like to have dental implants have been told that there is no longer enough bone structure to support dental implants. When this is the case, a procedure called bone grafting can often be performed in order to restore the bone height and width in the area.
Your dentist will thoroughly examine the affected area in order to assess the general condition of the teeth and gums. The dentist will also recommend panoramic x-rays in order to assess the precise depth and width of the existing bone. On occasion, a CAT scan may be recommended to determine the bone condition. Depending on these results, the dentist may also anesthetize the area and explore into the gum in order to determine what kind and how much bone is required.
There are several types of bone grafts. Your dentist will determine the best type for your particular condition.
Autogenous bone is described as the best type of graft because such bone is live bone with live active cellular elements that enhance bone growth, whereas other types of grafts are devoid of any active cellular material.
During the surgery, the dentist will numb the grafting and extraction sites using local anesthetic. A small incision will be made to prepare the site for the new bone, and it will be anchored into place. Barriers are used to cover the grafting material in the early stages of healing. They also prevent the gums from growing into the bony defect. After the graft is in place, the gums will be put back over the treated site and stitched into place. The site also may be covered with a bandage known as a periodontal pack or dressing. During the next six to nine months, your body fills in the area with new bone and soft tissue. In effect, this reattaches the tooth to your jaw.